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Engage your aging loved ones with these interesting questions

by Frank Herold
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old man on bench in cityWith the summer months quickly approaching, it's the perfect time to sit down and bond with your aging loved ones. Rather than just watching TV or playing a board game, take the time to record or write down a conversation with them. Interesting conversation starters include genealogy facts, unique family history, family health issues, favorite hobbies, and many other topics just waiting to be discovered.

Cherish your discussions with your loved ones by being engaged and listening intently. Some of their answers may surprise you or you may learn something about them you never knew before! You can then pass the video/answers onto future generations and their life will a legacy forever.

Related Blog: 7 Habits to Reduce Risk of Dementia

Here are some terrific questions to ask the aging loved ones in your life:

Starting From Birth

  • Tell me, when and where were you born? Was the delivery easy or hard? Any complications?

  • Why were you named ____? Is there any significance or a great story tied to it?

  • Where is your original birth certificate and can I see it?

Younger Years

  • Where did you grow up? Why did your parents choose to live there?

  • Describe in detail the house you grew up in. What do you remember the most about it?

  • What did your parents do for a living? Did they make good money? Did both of your parents work?

  • Did you grow up with a lot of family members in close proximity?

  • Do you remember going on family vacations as a child? If so, where did you go?

  • What was your demeanor like as a child?

  • Were your parents easygoing or strict?

  • Describe your siblings? Are/were you close and where are they now?

  • Were you close to your grandparents as you grew up? Any fond memories of them?

  • How did your family celebrate the holidays? Any special traditions?

  • Ask them to draw a visual family tree.

The World Around Them As a Child

  • Who were the Presidents when you were growing up?

  • What did the world, in general, look like back then?

  • What did "a day in the life of you" typically look like?

  • What kinds of different cars, TV shows, and foods were around?

  • What major news events affected your life and view of the world?

  • Do you have any old newspapers or magazines I can view?

Education & Accomplishments

  • How big was your school(s) and where did you go?

  • What subject did you love studying the most? Why?

  • What did you want to be when you grew up?

  • Did you attend college? If so, how was your experience?

  • What's the highest honor you've ever received?

Moving into Adulthood

  • What was your career and how did you pick it?

  • Did you enjoy your career, how was the commute, did you get along with your boss?

  • Did you ever think about starting your own company?

  • How did your mom and dad meet each other?

  • How did you meet your soulmate? (first date, proposal, wedding?)

  • What do/did you love most about your husband/wife?

  • Do you have any major regrets in life?

Having a Baby

  • How did you feel when you found out you were going to be a parent?

  • What was the pregnancy like?

  • How did you choose your children's names?

  • What was it like raising kids?

  • Tell me a funny story or memorable event that happened to you as a parent.

  • What are some of your proudest moments as a parent?

  • What do you think are some challenges parents face today that weren't an issue when you were raising kids?

Family History

  • Can you tell me some of our families most treasured recipes?

  • Has anyone in our family had chronic illnesses we should know about? If so, who?

  • Do we have any famous/infamous family members?

  • Any family scandals you want to share?

  • (Ask for recipe information and photos of family members.)

All About You

  • Out of everything in your life, what are you most proud of?

  • Describe yourself in three words.

  • Tell me some of your best and worst qualities.

  • If you could relive any age, what age would it be?

  • What's your favorite expression?

  • If you won the lottery worth 1 million dollars, how would you spend it?

  • What's your philosophy on life?

  • Any life advice you'd like to pass on?

Present Day

  • What brings you the greatest pleasure in life at this exact moment?

  • What has been the hardest and best parts of getting older?

  • What's on your bucket list still? Are you planning on crossing them off?

  • How do you see your life in the upcoming years?

  • Eventually, when you can no longer live safely on your own, where would you like to live?

  • Do you have a living will? A will? Power of Attorney? Health Care Proxy? DNR/DNI? Advanced Health Care Directive?

  • What do you envision your funeral looking like? Do you want anything specific said about you?

  • What's one thing you want everyone to remember about you?

This list will give you a great start for having an engaging and effective conversation with your aging loved ones. Unfortunately, they won't be around forever so taking the time to sit down and connect with them could mean the world to not only them but to you someday as well.

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